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Daniel Kitson: 66a Church Road December 20, 2009

Posted by pacejmiller in Entertainment, Shows.
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I had never heard of Daniel Kitson before, but was recommended to see his show 66a Church Road: A Lament, Made of Memories and Kept in Suitcases by a friend of a friend.

Kitson is a 32-year-old, award winning English comedian who has been called a ‘genius’ on many occasions.  However, 66a Church Road is not your typical stand-up routine.  It’s really a 90-minute soliloquy; a one-man story about Kitson’s relationship with his flat in London’s Crystal Palace over a 6-year period.  There’s an occasional video-recorded voice over during breaks, but for the most part it is just Kitson sitting on stage surrounded by stacks of suitcases (many of which contain scale models of the apartment).

The reviews of the show have been overwhelmingly positive.  The Times says: “It is poetry shot through with laughter and pathos, a heartfelt reflection on what we mean by home….as good as anything Kitson has done.” The Sydney Morning Herald says: “You go home with a distinct feeling of absolute moral superiority.”

My own personal verdict?  The show sucked.  Really sucked.  Hear me out.

First and foremost, 66a Church Road is not funny.  For 90 minutes, the show probably elicited half a dozen smiles and a couple of forced chuckles.  Not a single laugh.

Yes, Kitson really knows how to talk (albeit very quickly).  He is supremely eloquent.  His delivery is poetic.  His musings are well structured and occasionally heartfelt.  But it’s totally misleading to call it a ‘comedy’ show.  66a Church Street is really a ‘story’ show laced with infrequent, barely amusing lines.

Maybe it’s just me, or perhaps I was wrong to expect a comedic genius to deliver…well, a funny show.  The crowd was split into two camps.  There were a few randoms scattered in the audience that literally laughed at anything Kitson said.  Especially the guy sitting next me.  Seriously.  Every single thing.  Not even jokes –  just normal, conversational stuff.  It was surreal.

Apart from the crazies, everyone else was on the verge of death.  The guy next to my wife covered his face in his hands at least five times and yawned uncontrollably every minute or so.  If we weren’t sitting right in the middle of the row, we would have left about 30 minutes in when we realised it wasn’t going to get any better.  Some luckier people sitting on the sides actually did leave.

So that’s it.  Fans of Kitson (like the guy that sat next to me) will undoubtedly lap it up.  But for everyone else, either avoid or don’t expect anything funny.

PS: I actually did laugh out loud twice, but it wasn’t because of the show.  The first was when my wife leaned over and whispered ‘I’m so sleepy’, and the second was right after the show, when she said ‘That was so boring I thought I was going to die’.

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Comments»

1. Spencer - January 23, 2010

A bit of advice. There is this new source of information which is now available via a series of connected tubes called the internets. Using this service, you can look up such information as a review of a film, concert, book, tv programs and even live comedy or theatre performances. I realise you may live a very simple and isolated life in this Iniana or Iowa or wherever, but it should only be a short mule ride to your state’s central library where an “In-ter-net” should be available. This will ensure next time you are not disappointed in your quest for entertainment.

I think you may find the comedic stylings of a Dane Cook or Carrot Top may suit your need for “amusing lines” (ie shiny object) to keep your attention.

As for the “crazies” you must really get out more. Go to any public event from a concert to sporting event and you will find these types sprinkled throughout the venue. They are traditionally called fans (I believe short for fanatic). Yes they can be annoying, especially the 133 that surround you sitting at a Colts game all wearing “18” jerseys. Are you really surprised by this behaviour?

I was not a Kitson crazy before, having only seen him as a part character on a UK program called Phoenix Nights, but after Friday’s show here in Melbourne I now count myself as fan. That being said, next time out at a show I would only laugh like an underage school boy looking at rude words in the dictionary if seated next to dour folk such as you and your wife.

Good luck with that writing career Pace J, the Reba Show always needs script writers.

Spencer

ps Thanks for the image of the Kitson show, yours was one of the first for the 66a show that comes up on Google images.

pacejmiller - January 24, 2010

Wow, you went to all the trouble of creating a fake email address. Well done. That was funnier than Kitson’s entire show!

Apologies for having the gall to express my opinion on my personal blog about a show I (and 90% of the audience) didn’t enjoy. It’s amazing how some people who don’t agree with the opinions of others will go out of their way to try and sound superior and more ‘cultured’, even to the extent of writing a lengthy comment full of ‘clever’ insults on someone else’s blog.

How long did that take you? You must feel very intelligent now. Glad my post could help stroke your ego.

If you used the Internets (or a brain) yourself you would have noticed that the show I watched was in Sydney and this is an Aussie blog. But of course, for someone who tried to make an internet joke to a blogger, that’s not at all surprising.

And just because I don’t want to suck Kitson off like you I must like Dane Cook or Carrot Top? I don’t know where you got that from, but let’s face it – it’s a typical response from a someone who has to put others down in order to feel more secure about their intellect. You probably think you disguised it well in your response, which actually makes you even more pathetic.

Thanks for the advice anyway, dipshit.

2. Glenn Jacobs - May 9, 2010

If you found it boring its because you’re either too stupid or lazy to appreciate it. Thats not meant to be an insult, I sincerely mean that.

Not only is Kitson brilliantly innovative (in terms of comedy) compared to nearly any other comedian alive, but he’s also doing something unparalleled with his wonderful blending of genres and expression of heartfelt sentimentality.

Judging by your other review, where you made particular note of Michael Jackson jokes(wow, so edgy, original and topical!), the other poster is not too far off the mark in assuming you’re too dull to appreciate the incredible lyricism and beauty of Kitsons work.

Also Kitson has never described his narrative shows as “comedy shows”.

Your review sucked by the way. The only qualitative statement you made was that it “wasn’t funny”, and then proceeded to bitch about how you and everyone else didn’t like it, and would have left, had you not been stranded in the middle of a row!

Feel free to insult me for my opinion of your opinion.

pacejmiller - May 9, 2010

Glenn. You are entitled to your own opinion, as I am mine. It wasn’t Kitson himself that described his shows as comedic. It was the promotional material.

Look, I never said Kitson is not good at what he does. Your second paragraph might very well be true. But I just didn’t find it funny. And isn’t it typical of someone like you to assume that the Michael Jackson jokes aren’t funny when you don’t even know what they are? I don’t want to insult Kitson fans in general, but that’s two from two.

By the way, the Kitson post was not intended to be a review (hence the absence of “review” in the title and a score at the end, in contrast to the Jason Alexander post which did). It was just a description of a horrible experience. But obviously you are either too stupid or lazy to realise that. That’s not meant to be an insult, I sincerely mean that.

Gary - May 9, 2010

Pace, I am absolutely with you on this one.

Loved the comments. I find it hilarious that these people (who obviously fancy themselves as “intellectual superiors”) only end up demonstrating how truly ignorant and pathetic they are in their snobbish, poorly written remarks. And then you put them back in their place with your classic responses!

Len - May 10, 2010

I personally enjoyed the show because it connected with my emotions. I can see that its not for everyone because its not really a laugh out loud kind of show. it’s more like a story that occasionally tugs the heart strings with a few amusing lines thrown in.

Funny, Glenn Jacobs (from above) you say Kitson never described his shows as “comedic”, and yet you say he is innovative “in terms of comedy” and compare him to other comedians. I like to think of him as a storyteller myself.

Look, no performer is going to please everyone, and most of the time people will either love or hate something. but buddy, it’s time to get off your high horse. by saying that if you don’t like Kitson you must be “stupid or lazy” is just a transparent way of trying to tell people that YOU must be smart because you liked it. comedy affects people in different ways & styles don’t necessarily reflect IQ. get used to it and stop trying to convince people you are intelligent. it’s clearly not working.

3. Tom Murphy - June 10, 2010

It’s a shame you went into it expecting one thing and got another (through unclear marketing or whatever); Daniel Kitson has urged people on his mailing list who might want to recommend 66A Church Road to their friends to let them know that it’s a theatrical monologue rather than a comedy show.

He distinguishes clearly between his theatrical shows (like Church Rd and The Interminable Suicide of Gregory Church) and his stand-up (We Are Gathered Here). If you can bear having Kitson back in your life, here’s a review I wrote after catching two of his shows at Edinburgh last year: http://tom-writer.blogspot.com/2009/09/daniel-kitson-genius-at-work.html

pacejmiller - June 11, 2010

Thanks for commenting and clearing some things up! Now you have me intrigued about Kitson’s “comedy” shows. Nothing against him personally, and I think my expectations of it being laugh-out-loud funny coloured the experience, but I just didn’t think 66A Church Road was particularly good.

4. Josh - September 12, 2010

I’m 17 years old, and I saw this show at the Subiaco Arts Theatre at the beginning of the year. I’ve never heard of Kitson before or since that performance, but I genuinely enjoyed it. I thought it was beautiful. Of course it was quirky and perhaps boring at some odd moments, but overrall it was a heartwarming, sentimental story about a character who was really never going to find anything better in his life, than a love story with his flat. I’m probably of the opposite view of yourself, I came in with expectations of a poor performance, maybe that coloured my opinion of it in the end.


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